NDRRMC urged to improve system for emergency text alerts

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 17) — A rescue group is pushing for the improvement of the current system being used by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) in sending emergency text messages to residents of affected areas.

Jerry Carrual, president of the Search and Rescue Unit Foundation, said Sunday that emergency alerts should be sent before or during a disaster, not hours after it happens. The messages should contain information on emergency evacuation sites as well as what survival items people should bring with them, he said at the Balitaan sa Maynila forum..

"Sana po lagyan na rin natin ng detalye saan tayo pupunta, saan tayo tatakas. Gaano ka-safe ang ating tatakbuhan... Kung nandoon na po sa ating alarm system ang gagawin, yung diskarte kung paano gagalawin ang sarili at ano ang gagamiting bagay-bagay," he said.

[Translation: I hope it has details on where we should go, where we can evacuate, and how safe it is there... If the alarm system has information on what we should do, including how we should act and what things we can use.]

NDRRMC text alerts are currently limited to warnings on earthquakes, heavy rainfall, storm surges, and tsunamis.

Since disasters can strike anytime, Carrual urged families to put together a go bag that contains essential items to help them through a disaster. Among the things each go bag needs are water and food supplies which can last for several days. a first aid kit, and a flashlight.

Carrual says each individual should have sturdy shoes, a whistle, and goggles handy.